Last Tuesday, Paco Ojeda triumphed once again in his exciting series of Music Appreciation lectures bringing us gutsy and emotional “Protest Songs of the Vietnam War.” Paco managed to keep politics out of the entire 90 minutes; no mean feat. He is unparalleled as a researcher, and as a musicologist, he did not miss a beat in this lecture. Even though, as he pointed out at the beginning, the Vietnam War was not his generation, and the protest songs were not his music. We, in the audience, that were that generation, could not fault a thing. Busy as we were wiping our eyes through much of it. Take a bow, Paco. Seriously great stuff. There’s a possibility Paco will reprise this one lecture because of a scheduling snafu. I’ll keep you posted.
Vallarta’s roving blind tenor, Rodolfo, sang to a small crowd at Katana last Wednesday. If you are in Vallarta, please try and join us for a drink, spend an hour or so listening to traditional songs with this extraordinary man whose voice has been compared to Andrea Bocelli’s. The sushi is outstanding, the A/C keeps everybody cool, and the drinks are unusual and refreshing. Katana is upstairs at Lazaro Cardenas 315. Rodolfo is scheduled every Wednesday from 6 to 9 pm. It would mean the world to him if he could sing for you.
Friday after the Marsol Market, Swedish Lovely Margareta and I had lunch at Daiquiri Dick’s; it was so excellent. By 3 o’clock, the most powerful storm of the year was bombarding Vallarta with rain, lightning, thunder, and the streets were knee-deep in water. I have a great big (fraidy) cat who is terrified of thunder and rain if it’s noisy and I suddenly needed to get home to be with him. After I got out of my soaking wet clothes, I learned of the passing at 3 pm that same day of a great friend of mine – Ken Grover. The midday tormenta was nothing but Ken shouting goodbye to the people and the city he loved so well. Sail on, Kenny and say hi to Miranda.
Saturday morning, I stopped in to see Scotty and Allyn at their incredible house overlooking the city. They just got back from visiting our mutual friend Christina in San Miguel de Allende. I asked Scotty how their stay was at Casa de los Chiqueados. He mentioned bowls of fresh fruit, handwritten notes, giant bouquets of flowers, bottles of wine and handmade chocolates. Scotty told me they toured the latest addition to the Casa – a two-story suite that they didn’t stay in and said it was more beautiful than the house we were sitting in! I was curious about shopping in SMA. So many people from here go to Guadalajara, Tonala, and Tlaquepaque. Scotty says SMA is better than all three of those cities put together and infinitely cheaper as much of the fine art is produced in or close to SMA. All you folks out there looking to get away from the heat and humidity and maybe do some shopping, think about Casa de los Chiqueados and San Miguel de Allende. Oh, Scotty also said the Casa is walking distance to everything you need. And if you mention the Vallarta Tribune when you reserve (see the last page of this issue!), Christina will give you 20% off. I can feel you cooling off already!
Babel Bar on the Isla was hopping on Saturday with some of Vallarta’s finest musicians. There had to have been a steady two hundred Vallartenses enjoying fine guitar work, good food, stellar company and the great vibe that is always in that bar. Arancha, the owner of Babel, had her two young sons helping the waiters. Those kids worked like pros, picking up dishes, bottles, emptying ashtrays; the whole family – except the baby! – worked like crazy. I dearly hope this will be an annual event. The music could not have been better. The pile of musical instruments by the stage attested to the amount of great talent that performed at the Cuale Music Festival. Next week, at Babel Bar, Sunday August 5th, is the “Third Annual Cheryl’s Shoebox Summer Bash.” The Jamaican Brothers and The Zippers will be providing the live music. The last two years were such fun. Lots of businesses get involved with teams that compete against each other in silly games that will leave you breathless with laughter (who dreams up these things??). The most important part of this annual event is to raise money in honor of Cheryl’s memory and her dream that no child should go to school without shoes and have at least a basic amount of school supplies. This shindig gets underway at 2 pm and goes until 8. See you there!
Three of us ate like kings at the River Café Sunday night. My two companions had mahi-mahi encrusted with macadamia nuts, and I was blissed out with an enormous filet mignon from Sonora that was magnificently undercooked. Fork tender, under a peppercorn sauce, accompanied by five or six barely blanched veggies…heaven.
Stay dry, stay cool and remember that Mercury is in retrograde AGAIN and remain kind, From Here.